Get cracking if your lender stalls for time

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Not so. By Thursday, three-quarters of the 120 lenders looked at by Moneyfacts, the financial analyst, had yet to make an SVR decision - leaving hundreds of thousands of homeowners in the dark about changes to their monthly mortgage repayments.

This roll-call of shame included high-street lenders such as the Woolwich and NatWest.

Given that banks and building societies employ phalanxes of analysts to work out the long-term cost of any such decisions, usually well in advance, this tardiness - at the expense of customers - is inexcusable.

Other lenders, including Halifax, Northern Rock and Abbey, were, however, quick off the mark in announcing that they were reducing their rates. They all did so by the full quarter-point, but rival lenders were less generous to borrowers.

The Co-op bank is cutting its SVR by only 0.2 percentage points to 6.14 per cent; ditto Melton Mowbray building society, which nicked it down to 6.49 per cent.

One of the biggest surprises came from Nationwide building society. It waited a whole week to announce a cut, but then only dropped its rates by a parsimonious 0.1 percentage points to 5.89 per cent.

David Hollingworth, from the broker London & Country, expressed disappointment that Nationwide had not passed on the full cut, but stressed that its rate was still better than many.

However, all borrowers with a mortgage tagged to their lender's SVR - and about a third are - should take this rate cut as a signal to move to a much more competitive deal, he adds.

"Concentrate instead on finding a cheaper fixed-rate deal or variable discount deal elsewhere," he says.

On the savings side, a similar pattern is emerging - with many banks and building societies stalling for time before announcing changes to their rates.

Worse, while savers should expect their rates to be cut by 0.25 percentage points in line with the Bank of England's announcement, some providers have already announced they are cutting rates by more than this.

Derbyshire building society, for example, has made cuts of up to 0.6 percentage points.

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